Just how weak were the women of the Civil War era? What could they expect beyond marriage and childbirth in an age where infant and maternal mortality was frequent and contraception unknown? Did anyone marry for love? Could a woman divorce? What rights had the unmarried? What expectations the widows? An expert on the period, Antonia Fraser brings to life the many and various women she has encountered in her considerable research: governesses, milkmaids, fishwives, nuns, defenders of castles, courtesans, countesses, witches and widows.